A former command sergeant major at Fort Carson, Colorado, will go to court-martial June 7 to face charges of sexual misconduct, including acts against an underage girl, beginning in 2008, according to charge sheets.
Sgt. Maj. Benito Perez, 51, who was the 4th Infantry Division Artillery’s senior enlisted leader until January 2020, faces four charges of sexual assault, five charges related to “indecent” communications and a charge of violating Army command policy by fraternizing with a junior enlisted soldier under his responsibility.
Perez pleaded not guilty, according to court records.
While leading the 4th Infantry Division Artillery, prosecutors say Perez became “unduly familiar” with a private first class in his unit.
The then-command sergeant major regularly called and texted his soldier, requested that she send him photos, “order[ed]” her to his office for “regular closed door personal meetings,” touched her leg, hugged her and invited her to his home “after work hours,” the charge sheets read.
Perez also previously served as the command sergeant major of 4th Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team from 2014 to 2017. The Colorado Springs-based Gazette first reported Perez’s pending court-martial.
“He’s certainly not in a leadership role at this point,” an Army official said on background to discuss the pending court-martial. Fort Carson officials declined to provide a statement, citing the upcoming trial.
Perez coerced a girl under the age of 16 to undress in his presence while exposing himself on at least one occasion, according to the charging documents. Perez was also charged with sexual assault for allegedly fondling the girl and exposing himself to her on additional occasions between 2008 and 2009 in Texas.
While stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, between 2009 and 2011, Perez attempted to undress the girl under the age of 16, according to charge sheets.
Years later, Perez attempted to persuade the underage girl to “engage in sexual activity” through internet messages while deployed to Kuwait from October 2013 to July 2014, the charge sheets stated. The messages were in violation of state and federal law.
Dee McNutt, a Fort Carson spokesperson, said there is only one underage victim identified in the charge sheet.
Perez is charged with four additional counts of communicating “indecent language” while at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and Fort Carson between 2016 and 2017. The age of the messages’ recipient was not specified in the documents. During this period, Perez was command sergeant major of 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment.
The senior artilleryman has been in the Army for 31 years and is a Desert Storm veteran, according to service records obtained by Army Times. He has deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
Perez is a recipient of the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that there were multiple underage victims on the charge sheet. However, after publishing, Fort Carson officials clarified there is only one underage victim identified on the charge sheet.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.